Sanctum of Domination, week 12

Sunday went fine, got six bosses down and nearly got the seventh, but something was just not right. Yesterday we killed the Guardian on the third try, after one silly ninja pull and one weird tankbuster wipe.

Roh-Kalo proved to be a little difficult, but it also didn’t help we had people who had never seen the fight on Heroic and others who’d never done the runes before. Then some WeakAura malfunctions (or people not interpreting them correctly, or both). In the end we settled for the “6 colors and the WeakAura assigns marks the 3-4 who will run”. The amount of spheres going round is a bit ridiculous, but overall we seem to be pretty good on execution once the people have understood what to do and have had a chance to practice once or twice.

Very happy overall. We’re not the fastest, but we’re constantly progressing, I’m just noticing my gear actually falling behind and it could be that I’m the person with the worst iLvl already at 232, and we killed the last boss that drops 239 today.

Would you play your favorite MMO without its IP?

I missed the original post on Massively OP, but I saw Paeroka’s post “Would you play your favorite MMO without its IP?” and I find this a fascinating question.

So let’s try to recall all the MMOs I’ve played. I started with Ragnarok Online. Despite it being based on a Korean Manga I’d never heard of it. I started it because an acquaintance on a forum posted some screenshots and said he’d been playing it. I tried it out and was hooked for many years. So no to the question.

Next up was probably World of Warcraft, which was an interesting case. I was indeed a fan of WarCraft II & III, but not a huge fan of the lore. I liked the gameplay. And when people started posting about the WoW beta on our university forum I was… not enthusiastic at all, despite the IP. Zero interest. Only when a friend showed it to me in person over a year later and I played it for an hour, I also wanted to play. So I guess again the IP didn’t primarily matter. Also the lore was never really good, Thrall being green Jesus and a lot of other shortcomings.

Then came Lord of the Rings Online, this is easy. Of course I tried it because of the IP, but the game never fully made me go all in. So this never counted as a favourite.

Runes of Magic. Oh well, I’ve been lamenting every time I mention it. The IP is nonexistent I guess. I’ll always call it a bad WoW clone like no other game I’d ever seen.

Anarchy Online? Yes to the IP question, but it never counted as a favorite.

Warhammer Online. OK, this is 100% a No. I only tried it because of the IP and while it was fun it didn’t really stick.

Guild Wars 2. Again a funny story. The same friend who got me hooked on WoW showed me Guild Wars 1 and I found it so unbelievably bad when watching him play for an hour or two that I downright disregarded GW2 for years. After a while I still picked it up and liked it very much. But 100% would have played it without the IP.

Marvel Heroes. I hadn’t even heard of this game until I read about it on Green Armadillo’s blog, at the end of 2014 (wow, that long ago?). Of course the IP played a part, but I’m unwilling to give it a 100% yes because again the draw was “a cool online ARPG” with the added twist of a nice IP. I have to admit I was engaged by “oh look how this character I know plays”, so maybe 25% because of the IP would be a good number. But to be fair, I’ve stayed away from the DC games for lack of enthusiasm about most of their heroes and villains. I basically only like Batman.

TESO – The Elder Scrolls Online. Ha, Elder Scrolls you say, surely that’s drawn you in because of the IP. Sadly, no. I’d never ran into the Elder Scrolls IP except that one XBox 360 game I have and I can never remember if is Morrowind or Oblivion. OK, I just checked, it is Oblivion, and my XBox is 15 steps away, in case you were curious. But the thing is that I hated it. I think I got it early with the 360 and my last console controller experience had been some 15-20 years past and I hated the controls. I repeatedly died to the rats in the first room. So again I might have checked out TESO earlier if not for that.

WildStar. Hmm, what about original IPs? I saw trailers and was instantly hyped. The lore didn’t seem that cool, but the art style and execution was.

EVE Online. Well, doesn’t apply. There is some lore, but it’s no IP thing.

Pokémon GO. I had played one Pokémon Game on the Game Boy but I’m not sure if this was after my first contact with PoGo. That experience was “ok”, but apparently I’m not a huge or even a fan. I only installed PoGo because I’d tried Niantic’s Ingress years before and saw some potential, but found the execution very lacking. And phone batteries didn’t last long enough. PoGo was better on all accounts. So I guess I can call this “a bit of interest from the IP”.

Star Wars: The Old Republic. I guess I started SW:TOR because of the IP but I think it would be good enough without the IP. Sure, some things are really neat and I’m the first to spew random facts about some planet we’re visiting or something announced in a new expansion. On the other hand when not playing a Jedi you can easily forget that it is a Star Wars game, if you’re doing dailies, or some grind, not the story basically. So yes, good chance I might play it, but I wouldn’t bet on it. It’s a strong IP, it’s even one of my favorites.

Final Fantasy XIV. I don’t know how small of a minority it is that started playing XIV before the big push this year and has zero clue about the Final Fantasy franchise and IP, but I am 100% in it. I think I played a single FF game on the Game Boy Advanced (I’d need to look up which), I played and liked Kingdom Hearts but I never understood any FF references in there and I saw “The Spirits Within” and I still don’t see any connection. So the parts I took in, I am 100% oblivious to and so this is a resounding Yes to the IP question. I don’t even have an idea what is FF IP and what is just FFXIV stuff, after playing it for over half a year. It’s simply a good game. Also if I read some cues right, there are several incarnations of the same hero/person in different games, with the same name and traits, but living in different worlds. Same as reboots and alternate universeses in comics. Let me just say I hate this, so if it’s true then I’m kinda playing the game despite its IP.

That turned out longer than expected, but I guess the TLDR is that I’m not easily drawn in by IPs, but it has happened. I think I mostly try games and then play them if I like them, despite their shortcomings. And sometimes I am surprised that I missed out on a good game because I didn’t try it because of the IP. Does that mean I should go and try DC Universe, Star Trek Online and lament that I didn’t play Age of Conan?

So many things to do

Thursday saw quite a bit of progress. After doing my duty roulettes on Warrior there was just a little bit missing so I spammed some FATEs (for some reason on my server Il Mheg is really good for this and no one does them in e.g. Lakeland) and got to 80.

Then I finally unlocked the Wondrous Tails and was a bit dumbfounded by the activities I should do. The 4 dungeons shouldn’t be a problem, but the rest were mostly Alliance Raids (of which I’d never done a single one) and Extreme Trials (which I had never done and not even unlocked most of them), so I set out to do some quest collecting. I had heard that you should be able to solo some of them so I tried just that. First was Shiva, where I even had the quest already (since 2019, actually). Killed her on the second try (80 Warrior with iLvl 406) and got a pony, yay. Then I went to Good King Moggle Mog, first try. Then I learned that the duty finder resets your “undersized party” setting if you disconnect, so I found myself in a Garuda Extreme party with 6 sprouts and one experienced tank. I told them I had misqueued but might as well try it. The other tank gave us instructions and we were successful after one wipe. Nice. Then I either needed Titan or was just curious, and it was unlocked after Garuda anyway. That one took three tries to get the positioning right, but there was another pony. So maybe it’s worth trying to get all the mounts now, if they’re soloable that easily.

I also need Ravana EX, but as it’s a Level 60 trial the guide suggested an iLvl of 460+, so I’m not sure I should try that already and I guess I’ll go for Alliance Raids on the weekend then, because I really want to finish this Wondrous Tails thing, preferably with 2 lines.

So overall I’m still confused in this game how some things seem to go so fast and some go so, so slow. Machinist from ~53 to 61 was quite a slog. Dancer from 60 to 70 felt so much quicker. MSQ is really fast, but why can’t I do the whole post-expansion stuff on a 79 job to not waste the XP? Meh.

Friday didn’t bring much, except Thaumaturge to 30 and starting Rogue, my first melee DPS class.

Today I queued for the Alliance Raid Duty Finder and again was very lucky, Labyrinth of the Ancients, so that’s two birds with one stone (actually three, Shadowbringers MSQ, Wondrous Tails, and bonus EXP for White Mage). Then I continued on through Cyrcus Tower and won Amon’s Coat, nice. Those two were near instant pops, World of Darkness took quite a while but again, no wipes or problems. Then on to Ramuh Extreme, 2 tries, no pony. Then Ifrit, first try, pony. Then Leviathan, 2 tries, no pony.

Sanctum of Domination, week 11

An uneventful Sunday, I had to tank and we got the first five bosses down, that’s one slower than the week before. On the plus side I got a 239 Main Hand weapon.

Tuesday night started with the sad news that my Warlock friend had decided to stop raiding Heroic for now, mostly not feeling good with relatively low DPS and a lot of dying. Which is pretty sad because there was no blaming, and it being actually fine how it is (and not like the damage was the worst in the raid or even miles behind the midfield), and additionally we’re now losing access to health stones and portals and porting people, but at least for now it sounded like a nope :/

When the raid started I was relieved of my tank duty (not without wasting a sharpening stone 30s before the off tank came on) and we killed Painsmith a second time after a few tries (but with a few new people) and then Guardian after a few tries (again, new people). And our raid leader was also not available, so it was a bit of a common effort, led by our second in command shot caller.

Then we had time for a few tries on Fatescribe but that didn’t go so well. Definitely seems to be harder for us than Painsmith, but we only had killed him three times on Normal with all the skipping, whereas we had done Painsmith five times.

Crafting, crafting, crafting

I “finished” the Dwarf and Pixie Beast Tribe quests insofar as I reached Sworn and got the mounts, we’ll see if if there’s any benefit in continuing.


Yesterday was the weekly reset and so I managed to get a few more Custom Deliveries in and this is the result:

all crafting/gathering jobs done in Shadowbringers

Now I simply need to catch up 40 levels of job quests for the left side and 30 levels for the right side. Easy… Apparently I can get White Crafters Scrip for Deliveries at 80, which is good because I had no clue how to get better gear there. I’m going for a generic set for all jobs instead of weapons or specialized stuff. We’ll see if that works out until Endwalker, so I’d be prepared a bit better. No huge plans, but I’d prefer to have 80 gear and not 70 gear for leveling them up to 90.

For my battle jobs there were a few small milestones, Dancer is 70, Machinist and Dark Knight are 60, but I continued the quest for cleaning up my inventory and so Summoner/Scholar is at 30, I picket up Astrologian (at 30) and started and leveled Thaumaturge to 25 so far, and Blue Mage to 30. So just 5 more levels and I can get rid of all sub-30 caster gear, that should help a bit. Warrior is at 78 and that’s what I’m mainly pushing now, together with Machinist, who took over Ananta+Kojin Duty from Dancer.

Still haven’t had a look at the Wondrous Tails and I find the limit of 2000 Poetics a bit silly, I need a spreadsheet now to keep track of which gear sets I already bought because I need to store them at a retainer.

For the MSQ and post-Shadowbringers content, first I was blocked by item level (but that could be solved by buying 2-3 cheap-ish crafted items on the market board) and now I guess I need to run all Crystal Tower raids? I thought that was a recent change if you were finishing up ARR, not that it would come to haunt me in 5.3. Anyway, I still have 2 months to get through the story.

Oh, and I still need to read up if it’s feasible to get at least one Relic Weapon at 80, either for Bard or Warrior. I don’t want to invest a huge amount of time and Gil, but I think it’s an iLvl upgrade and if it looks cool… why not? At least the first step.

Sanctum of Domination, week 9+10

This time I didn’t forget to post last week, it was simply too unexciting. For some reason we didn’t do a lot. Bad setup, many people missing, no prog. Went back to only do KT+Sylvanas on normal on Tuesday and called it early.

This week was good though. Despite some people missing we killed the first three pretty quickly, then had a few wipes on Ner’zhul, we still mess up positioning there. Then we killed Dormazain on the third pull. I think it were 20+ overall, spread over quite a few days. Today we went for KT+Sylvanas normal first, then on to Painsmith Heroic, with a warning that this could be hard, as we had wiped a few times on Normal before we got him down, but the first try looked really good and then he died on the second pull. That was a bit of a surprise. So we had enough time for Guardian of the Old Ones, where the first try also looked quite promising. In the end we killed him on pull number 8, the last one of the night. Oh, and all this while I was tanking the whole week as our offtank was on vacation.

So we’ve jumped from 4/10 to 7/10 Heroic this week and I’m really happy. Could use a few more drops though, 228 in tanking gear and 230 in DPS gear.

Some progress

Again I’ve been trying to push my Beast Tribe Dailies and Duty Roulettes and GC handins and a few other things. Paladin to 60 today, Dark Knight sadly didn’t make the cut. Warrior is 75 thanks to the Pixies, Dancer is 68 thanks to some duties and Stormblood dailies and Machinist gets an odd level here and there. Hopefully tomorrow I can get rid of a whole set of pre-60 tanking gear.

Still only one at 80

Overall it still feels a little slow, but I’m pretty excited about the crafting jobs:

Getting there

All at 77, on average, thanks to the Dwarves and crafting all the GC turnins myself every day. I don’t love Fishing, and the market board is bad with availability, but at latest when the DoH jobs reach 80, I’m gonna go out again for Leves or to grab the handins myself. Maybe next Sunday already?

MMOs are multiplayer games. Maybe.

As I was just standing in the kitchen on a short break from work, making a coffee, I had some sort of epiphany. Not the grandiose kind that would make me rich and famous, but this sort of personal insight.

In our EVE Slack there recently was talk about cohesion and people not going on stratops (we don’t have mandatory anything in BRAVE) and I noticed that while I noped out of the war, since we declared a loss I’ve been doing a lot more, including undocking. So my playstyle has shifted from “purely solo” in the last year to “mostly group activities” again.

And I noticed the same both in WoW Retail and Classic. I log on to Classic once per week for our group and don’t feel a lot of excitement otherwise, and I log on to raid twice a week in retail and maybe a bit more, but only for chores like weekly/dailies or opening the vault and sorting enchants for the next raid. Nothing solo.

In FFXIV it’s a bit of a weird mix. This week I focused on crafting and my Beast Tribe Dailies and a little bit of story progress, and I mostly lump in duty roulette and random LFG activies as solo play. I say hi, I might write or read a few sentences about strategies, but I’m not engaging. This is not my guild/FC or a group of friends, just temporary allies for 20 minutes. They could be bots, I don’t care. But it’s fine like that.

I’m happy to have one game for solo play and one or two or three for group play. I guess from the point I started BfA until I planned to start raiding again with Shadowlands launch, I was playing WoW Retail as my solo game. I talked to my guild in guild chat, but I’m not sure I went to voice chat more than twice in those 2 years. When Classic launched it was a mix of solo and group activity, separated by which toon I played.

Not a huge epiphany, but I think doing “group and solo” only works when I am 100% engaged in a single game, I guess Shadowlands launch counts, leveling up solo, doing dungeons in groups, then raiding in groups. Then solo leveling all the alts. But in general, it’s either group or solo.

TBC continued

It’s been quite a while since I wrote about the TBC Classic group, but that’s because one member was on vacation for 3 weeks and none of us logged in in that time, it seems the general mood is a bit unenthusiastic.

But last night we got off with a late start due to work, then figuring out what to do. We had stopped questing in Terokkar, so we flew to Stonebreaker Hold, grabbed some quests and went to work. Gladly the flood of people seems to have died down and except for one of the Arakkoa settlements it was chill with no people snatching your mobs. But of course we still have the worst quest of them all, the 12 wolf pelts per person. Also I had forgotten to empty my bags and was full all the time.

After around 2h we called it a day, 3 of 4 having dinged 65 and one being very close. So I need to check if I can continue with Blacksmithing to use up the mats clogging my inventory and maybe clean up the bank until next Thursday. And then we wanted to check the Auchindoun instances and run them once, our level permitting.

Overall not too excited, but it was fun enough to continue. Also my Druid is still at 69 and being 1 level from the maximum always annoys me a bit, but the 4 week break was welcome and maybe now is the time to divert a little time to Classic again.

Sanctum of Domination, week 8

Finally there’s one week where I don’t forget to post, but then I have other posts and no time.

Anyway, last raid week was a bit weird. On Sunday I had to tank again, first we did the last 2 on Normal (1 wipe on KT), then the first 3 on Heroic. One wipe on Tarragrue (weird), then three wipes on The Eye (also weird), then oneshot The Nine.

Tuesday our main tank was back, and we had a big group again, 21 or so, and one of our raiders brought 3 friends, supposedly Mythic raiders and for some reason nothing really worked. Ner’zhul died on the third pull but the first two already felt weird, then we had 10 wipes on Dormazain. Yes, this is the boss we haven’t killed yet but it seems doable, just that nothing seemed to go smoothly that day, and then one of the mythic people started to smartass and shout stuff between our calls and then there was some arguing. Not a fan of the outcome, or the whole night. But apparently I wasn’t the only one who felt like that, so maybe they’re not coming again.